Are you a fan of the unconventional and a firm believer in the power of alternative medicine?
Lion’s mane mushroom represents one of the key medicinal mushrooms used by herbal healers and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners around the world.
It’s been used and celebrated for thousands of years now and is again surging in popularity in the modern age as many people battle a range of ailments and health complications.
Is Lion's Mane Good For Anxiety?
Traditional Chinese herbalists have long used lion's Mane mushrooms as an effective treatment for many ailments.
This powder contains several substances that are believed to improve cognitive function, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system.
Research suggests that lion's mane powder may also be used to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for processing emotional responses and memories.
Studies have shown that lion's mane powder can help improve the responses of the hippocampus and regenerate brain cells which, in turn, may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Another small study performed on menopausal women found that ingesting lion’s mane mushroom powder daily helped soothe feelings of irritability and anxiety.
Although this was a small study, it's one of the first to explore the benefits of this supplement on humans, and the results were promising.
In addition to alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression, lion's mane may also have a wealth of other benefits, including:
Lion’s mane contains two very important compounds that encourage the growth of brain cells - erinacines and hericenones.
These two compounds have a low molecular weight and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
In wild-type mice, an oral supplement of lion's mane powder significantly improved visual recognition memory and spatial short-term memory.
A separate study used a model of Alzheimer's disease in mice and found that when the mushroom's fruiting body was given orally, the impairment of memory was prevented, and hippocampal expression was increased.
Studies have found that this supplement may actually help to prevent the development of stomach ulcers in the digestive tract.
It's believed that the extract works by preventing the growth of H.pylori or Helicobacter Pylori, a type of bacteria that can live in the human digestive tract, which, after many years, can cause infections and even stomach cancer.
However, human research on this matter has been conflicting.
For example, in one study, patients with ulcerative colitis took lion's mane and experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life in just three weeks of taking the supplement.
However, in a separate study - there were no obvious benefits when repeated on patients with Crohn's disease.
Research has shown that lion's mane mushroom contains some incredible antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Further studies have found that these properties may help to reduce the impacts of certain illnesses associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, such as autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and even cancer.
Additional animal studies have been performed to assess the weight of these claims.
For example, one study discovered that extract of lion’s mane mushroom powder was effective at reducing the notable markers of both oxidative stress and inflammation in rodents.
These studies claim that lion's mane extract may be particularly useful in treating and managing conditions such as strokes, liver damage, and inflammatory bowel disease.
As you can see - there is some very promising and intriguing clinical evidence piling up, however, most of it can’t be classified as a human study so much more research is still needed.
Is Lion's Mane Safe During Pregnancy?
First and foremost - we can not give you medical advice and can only present what is found in the current literature. You must consult a GP before taking Lion’s Mane Mushroom - especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Now, based on what is currently published - unfortunately, there is no real research on the safety of lion’s mane during pregnancy.
However, by examining anecdotal evidence and years of use, it seems that lion’s mane may benefit people who are pregnant.
There is no evidence that lion’s mane affects fertility or pregnancy, however, it is rich in vitamins and minerals like B12 which contributes to good overall health and a positive pregnancy experience.
Although there is no evidence to suggest that lion’s mane is dangerous during pregnancy, there is also no evidence to confirm that it is completely safe.
There is also no research exploring the effects of lion’s mane on people who are breastfeeding, however, lion’s mane’s anti-anxiety effects may benefit the ability to breastfeed.
One study found that breastfeeding mothers experiencing high levels of anxiety had a harder time encouraging their babies to breastfeed compared to mothers with low to no anxiety.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Lion's Mane?
There are no official dosage guidelines for Lion’s Mane released by any governing body. Everybody responds differently however, many users report taking quite high doses for months on end without any adverse reactions.
In fact, animal studies have suggested that even in doses as high as 2.3 grams per pound, no adverse side effects were reported.
That being said - there are of course some side-effects reported in a very small amount of people.
Here are some side effects of lion's mane mushroom powder you should be looking out for:
- Skin rashes
- Difficulties breathing
- Watery eyes
- Swelling of the airways, mouth, and lips
- Stomach bloating or cramps
Although these side effects are incredibly unpleasant, you should note that they are also INCREDIBLY rare.
While there are limited studies into the side effects of lion's mane mushroom powder on humans, it is deemed incredibly safe, with minimal side effects.
These side effects are believed to occur only in users with a sensitivity or allergy to mushrooms.
If you're not allergic to mushrooms, it's very unlikely that you'll experience any side effects, however, if you do - stop taking it immediately.
Can You Take Lion's Mane and Ashwagandha Together?
Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that’s commonly used as a medicinal herb in ayurvedic medicine systems.
It’s believed that Ashwagandha may have many health benefits, including the ability to reduce inflammation, improve mood, memory, stress and anxiety levels, and even help improve blood sugar.
Research surrounding Ashwagandha’s ability to help with anxiety has been documented in a small study of 58 participants, who each took either 250mg or 600mg every day for eight weeks.
At the end of the study, those who took either of the above dosages experienced reduced stress and less cortisol production compared to the participants who took the placebo.
Furthermore, Ashwagandha may also help boost testosterone levels in men and improve male fertility. One study examined the effects of ashwagandha extract on 43 overweight men between the ages of 40-70. Each male in the study was experiencing mild fatigue.
At the end of the eight-week study, an 18% greater increase in the DHEA-S hormone involved in testosterone production was noted.
Participants had an overall increase in testosterone production of 14.7% more than those who took the placebo.
Additional studies have also shown that ashwagandha treatment may increase semen volume, the concentration of sperm, and sperm motility in males with a reduced sperm count.
These are just a few of the reported benefits of ashwagandha treatment, so it’s no surprise that patients taking other herbal treatments such as lion’s mane, may wish to add this treatment into their routine.
But is it safe to take lion’s mane and ashwagandha together?
Ashwagandha and Lion’s Mane are both nootropics and adaptogens that have been proven to improve cognitive function, among other effects.
Fortunately, there’s no evidence to suggest that ashwagandha and lion’s mane interact with each other, which could make these herbal treatments the ultimate combination.
Although these supplements share their similarities, they also have their differences, too - giving them the ability to both support and complement each other well.
For example, although both supplements may have benefits for our cognitive health, the ashwagandha adaptogen may help promote restful sleep.
If you’re experiencing insomnia that’s caused by stress and anxiety, using ashwagandha in conjunction with lion’s mane may work to help improve your symptoms.
However, there is some concern that ashwagandha may interact with certain medications, such as thyroid supplements, sedatives, blood thinners, and medications for diabetes.
If you’re taking any of these medications, seek medical advice before starting treatment, even if you’re already taking lion’s mane with your doctor's guidance and support.
The Bottom Line
Lion's mane mushroom powder has been used extensively for millennia to treat many different ailments and health issues.
It's long been reported to hold incredible healing properties, and many animal and human studies now support this.
You can now easily buy Lion’s Mane Mushroom in Australia and most other places around the world quickly and easily - making it a great supplement to bring into your daily diet if you want to improve your cognitive function, digestive health, or general health.